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The Defence Headquarters has blamed the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for the recent clash between Army troops and its members in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
IPOB had accused the soldiers of invading their leader’s home on Sunday and opened fire on the security personnel who tried to prevent them from gaining entry.
The military, however, denied the claims, saying troops were on a routine patrol before they were intercepted by members of the group who blocked the road.
“Troops were just in their normal operation, patrolling, and some chaps who were later identified to be IPOB members blocked the road and say they shouldn’t pass,” said DHQ spokesman, Major General John Enenche.
“It was peaceful and they started throwing stones at them (the troops), missiles (I mean stones and things that are hard objects) to the extent of injuring a soldier on his head, and then a passerby, one lady. That was what happened.”
Major General Enenche, who appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, said the issue was exaggerated by the group.
He accused the group of using a photo editing tool to modify the pictures which it used to back the claims that some of its members were injured by the military.
He said, “It did not even escalate to what they posted on the internet when they went and photoshopped a picture of people that were in a range-like position and then firing against IPOB flag.”
“It is rather unfortunate. I was contacted directly and I was in touch with them and that is ‘what is the situation?’”
The DHQ spokesman also denied claims by the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who alleged that the operation was conducted to terrorise and scare members of the group.
Nnamdi Kanu accuses Army of ‘terrorising’ his people
He stated that the troops were on a routine patrol and not testing an armoured vehicle, saying different reports would emerge when such incident takes place.
“You know when things like this happen, people can come up with various things. I am not saying that the police did not give you a version of what they understood or what they were given, but I am now telling you that what happened is that it is a normal routine exercise,” he said.
“It was not like specifically, we were testing an armoured personnel carrier or whatever; we didn’t just acquire armoured personnel carriers, we have been using them.
“So, if it was something expected and then looked at from that angle, they would have gone out with their combat camera and captured it,” Enenche added. © September 12, 2017.

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